Ao™ Hydrophobilizer

  • Year 2018
  • Materials Installation: aerogel particles, water, reconstructed hand sanitizers with 3D printed tray, electric motor, and spring
  • Size 2 spheres with a diameter of 25 cm
Hydrophobilizer enables one’s hands to become water-repellent like lotus leaves and transforms the familiar sensations of touching water into a marvelous and curious moment, similar to that of holding mercury. The installation consists of a two-step process, where the participants first receive the colorless and transparent aerogel particles (made from 99.6% air and 0.4% silicon, the lightest solid substance in the world!) from a modified hand sanitizer machine and rub over the hands as if they are washing their hands. Participants then go under another sphere machine to receive water drops and are astonished to find that the water droplets are rolling around their palms like pearls. The familiar act of washing one’s hands with water and sanitizing one’s hands is soon transformed into an unfamiliar moment. In redefining the familiar motions, the substance of water escapes its conventional role and materiality but discovers a new function and meaning. As the words ending with “-lizer” or “-tizer” often signify utility (such as “sanitizer” and “fertilizer”), the artist coins the title “Hydrophobilizer” from the word “hydrophobicity,” suggesting a sensorial experience seemingly void of utility.
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